Tearing down the tents (and moving them closer together)

Being fairly focused on Microsoft technologies myself, I see a lot of the “us vs. them” mentality where you either use Microsoft technologies, or you’re part of “the other group”. Seeing Lachlan Hardy at Microsoft Remix was awesome – he was a Java dude talking about web standards at a Microsoft event. The more we can focus on the ideas rather than which camp you’re from, the more we’ll develop the inter-camp relationships and eventually destroy this segmentation. Sure, we’ll still group up and debate the superfluous crap like which language is better (we’re nerds – we’ll always do that) but at least these will be debates between the sub-camps of one big happy web family. (It’s not as cheesy as it sounds – I hope.)

What’s the first step in making this happen? Meet people from “the other group”!

The boys and girls at Gruden and Straker Interactive have put together Web on the Piste for the second year running. It’s a vendor neutral conference about rich internet technologies – so you’ll see presentations about Adobe Flex and Microsoft Silverlight at the same event (among lots of other cool technologies of course). These types of events are a perfect way to meet some really interesting people and cross pollinate some sweet ideas.

It’s coming up at the end of August, and I understand that both conference tickets and accommodation are getting tight so I’d encourage you to get in soon if you’re interested (Queenstown is crazy at this time of year).

And of course, yours truly will be there evangelising the delights of Windows Live as well as ASP.NET AJAX to our Flash using, “fush and chups” eating friends. 🙂

Will you be there?

The Tech.Ed "Web" Track

Late this afternoon, the Aussie twittersphere had a brief flurry of activity around the “web” track announcement for Tech.Ed this year.

The problem is that there are 12 sessions to cover everything “web” and UX – that’s one session on AJAX, two on Silverlight, nothing on ASP.NET 3.5 SP1 content, one IIS admin talk ….

As a result of this anorexic track size, lots of great sessions missed out. It’s great seeing people like Scott Hanselman and Jefferson Fletcher locked in. Alongside the official IE8 announcements though, it’d be good to something lik Damian and Lachlan’s boots-on-the-ground web standards talk. Jose Fajardo has been doing some really innovative work with Live Mesh, but there’s not even a single session scheduled around the Live platform yet. There *might* be something as a lunch time chalk talk.

I think the wider issue here is the track design – there are way too many web-related technologies to fit into a single track. As an idea for future years, I don’t think there should be a web track at all – in the same way there’s no explicit “Winforms” track. Web sessions should be distributed between the others. AJAX in developer tools and technologies, MVC in architecture, Silverlight in a new UX track, Dynamic Data in the Database + BI track, IIS in the server track, etc.

To allow “web developers” to find “web” sessions, sessions could be tagged with the technologies they include and ASP.NET would just be a common tag.

I use terms like “web developers” in quotes as I think this is now a very old-world view of developers and the systems they are building. Unfortunately I think it is this view that has driven the problems that we as a community are perceiving this year.

I’m still excited about Tech.Ed this year, I just don’t think they ‘got it’ with this track.

The case of the missing ICS file – Remix for Outlook addicts

Being an Outlook addict, I’m always pleased when I see an “Add to Outlook” or “Download as ICS” button on a website. Everyone from Virgin Blue to Facebook do it.

Unfortunately there was no such file for Remix so instead of just loading it into my private calendar, I thought I’d make the ICS feed.

Here they are:



See you tomorrow / Thursday!

Update 21/5/08: Just in time for tomorrow, I’ve added the room assignments to the Melbourne file.